When it comes to questions to ask wedding vendors, there are two types of couples: Those who have a million questions to ask, and those who find themselves tongue-tied. While there are specific questions you’ll need to ask certain vendors (like venues, photographers, and DJs, for example), there are certain, basic questions that are applicable to all types of wedding pros—and these are ones you should ask in your first communication or at your first meeting. Not only will these questions give you a clue as to whether a particular vendor is right for your big day, they’ll also show vendors that you’re an educated consumer.
Here are the first five questions to ask wedding vendors.
Are you available on my wedding day?
Most couples know that this is an important question to ask wedding vendors, but some couples make a major mistake: They don’t ask it first. With the exception of your venue (whose availability may impact your chosen wedding date to begin with), if a vendor isn’t free on your wedding day, you unfortunately can’t work with them. All too often couples fall in love with a particular vendor only to realize that he or she isn’t able to work your wedding. Fortunately, certain vendors on WeddingWire share their availability calendar publicly, so you don’t even have to ask (though it’s still good to double-check)—you can even use WeddingWire to search certain vendor categories by your wedding date!
What’s included in your rates/packages?
Every couple has a budget, and it’s essential to ensure that any vendor you hire is within range. All too often though, couples ask the too-basic question: “How much do you cost?” This question is problematic for a few reasons, but perhaps most importantly, you’re not actually going to get the answer you want. Sure, it’s important to get specific numbers when it comes to vendor pricing, but what’s more important is what’s actually included in those prices—because it can vary widely from vendor to vendor, even within the same category. For example, one photographer may charge $3,000 for a package that includes prints, an album, and engagement photos, whereas another photographer might charge the same rate, but less is included. Of course, there are many more reasons to choose a vendor than just pricing, but you need to know that you’re comparing apples to apples as you finalize your budget breakdown.
How long have you been in business?
Just because a wedding vendors has been in business for decades doesn’t mean that he or she is right for you. However, what’s important here is the knowledge that a vendor is experienced, that this isn’t their first time at the wedding rodeo. Again, there’s no right answer to this question, but you should walk away knowing that this vendor knows what he or she is doing and will lessen your wedding planning stress, not add to it. If you so desire, follow up questions to this one may be, “How many weddings have you worked on?” and “Have you ever worked a wedding at my venue?” These questions can add even more insight into a vendor’s experience level.
Are you licensed and insured?
While you might think of this as a throwaway question to ask wedding vendors, it’s really, really important for a few reasons. Many venues will only allow licensed vendors to work at their property, so a vendor really needs to be licensed to be legit in most cases. And when it comes to insurance, hopefully you won’t need to put this into play, but if something does go wrong at your wedding, you’ll be glad you did your due diligence. Yes, it’s all very “worst-case scenario,” but imagine if a guest trips over your photographer’s equipment and injures himself? Or if your DJ breaks a piece of furniture at your venue? You don’t want to be held financially responsible for these sorts of incidents and accidents. As a side note, you may want to consider purchasing your own wedding insurance in case of a natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstances that derail your wedding day.
Can you share references?
You may have a good gut feeling about a particular vendor, but it’s important to hear from other couples about their experiences, too. That’s why one of the most important questions to ask wedding vendors is if they can share contact information for a few references. Reading reviews on WeddingWire is a good place to start, but you may have specific questions about a wedding pro that would be best asked of a past client. Don’t be shy about asking for references, and note that any vendor who refuses to provide them is raising a red flag.